Whistleblower hotlines are common in large businesses and corporations, but it would be a mistake to think that such organizations are the only ones that can benefit from this service. The restaurant industry, for example, is a pretty tough business; the close relationship between staff members, customers, and food health and safety standards creates a unique environment where a whistleblower hotline can serve a key role.
Here are 3 key reasons why every restaurant should have a hotline that every staff member can use at any time:
Bullying has no place in any work environment; but, tensions can rise to the surface quickly in the hospitality industry. Restaurant staff are routinely under pressure to perform. The kitchen staff need to be highly organized and the wait staff need to attend to customer needs. It’s not too difficult to imagine a scenario where a single wrong order can create havoc and this is where bullying can occur.
One expects that the commercial kitchen environment will be tense, but a line must be drawn between professional behavior and abusive behavior. When, for example, does it become bullying if the Chef is stressed about getting the orders correct and they start to take it out on the wait staff? On-going abusive language, humiliating language, and belittling behavior directed towards staff members is unacceptable.
If you own and run a restaurant, the quality of the food is one of the keys to your success. This includes all aspects of health and safety, including:
- Kitchen cleanliness and sanitary standards,
- Proper food storage,
- Sourcing ingredients from legal sources.
Where some establishments fail is in their decision to cut corners when it comes to health and safety. This may be a result of needing to save money or it could be a general disregard for health and safety regulations. Shoddy standards, such as incorrectly stored food or food that is out of date, could be the cause of food poisoning. In this scenario, being able to use a hotline to report these issues could save the reputation of the restaurant and the health of a customer.
Due to the tense nature of many restaurant operations, and the often fine line between financial success and failure, some establishments engage in dubious staff hire practices, including:
- Hiring undocumented workers and paying them in cash to save money,
- Withholding tips from staff members,
- Underpaying staff members.
A hotline could save your business
Many restaurant owners operate their establishments at arm’s length, and a hotline allows them to offer their staff a way to report unethical behavior. Whether it is workplace bullying, illegal hiring, or health and safety concerns, restaurant owners need to understand that an easily accessible hotline that guarantees anonymity is one of the keys to deterring bad and unethical behavior.